Subject: Re: [boost] Heads up - string_ref landing
From: Jeffrey Lee Hellrung, Jr. (jeffrey.hellrung_at_[hidden])
Date: 2012-11-27 02:17:06
On Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 10:56 PM, Yanchenko Maxim
> 27.11.12, 13:51, "Jeffrey Lee Hellrung, Jr." <jeffrey.hellrung_at_[hidden]
> > On Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 7:03 PM, Yanchenko Maxim
> > <maximyanchenko_at_[hidden]>wrote:
> > > Hi Daniel, I'm fully with you here. The construction of string_ref
> > > be explicit (except maybe literals if we can detect them in compile
> > > as we're giving away pointers to something that is externally managed.
> > > Look at std::string::c_str/data, any smart_ptr::get etc - everything is
> > > explicit for a reason. Implicit conversions to pointers are very
> > > here.
> > > No containers give away their internals implicitly, and this is Good
> > >
> > > Consider a vector of pointers, for example. You don't want to
> > > put a pointer managed by a smart pointer there, you want it to be
> > > so it's visible and you don't forget putting reset/release near a
> > > push_back. Same applies to a vector of string_ref - you want to be sure
> > > that the string referred by it lives as long a needed, and there is no
> > > other way except explicit construction.
> > >
> > I was under the impression that string_ref's proposed purpose was to
> > provide a generic concrete (i.e., non-template) interface for string
> > algorithms (both as parameters and results), and for this purpose, the
> > above arguments seem irrelevant. The lifetime concerns are no worse than
> > for a std::string const &.
> Should we ban vector<string_ref> then?
Well, I don't know, we don't ban vector< reference_wrapper<T> > or vector<
iterator_range<I> > (do we?), so probably not.
Otherwise it's error-prone:
> vector<string_ref> v;
> std::string s;
I fail to see the error in the above 3 lines :)
Containers of string_ref are very useful while working with external
> textual data, e.g. parsing - to store various chunks of parsed text like
> identifiers. But if you want to add some predefined identifiers from other
> sources like std::string - you want the compiler to warn you if you're
> going to do something dangerous. Explicit construction is very useful and
> saves from leaks and ownership errors.
Yes, but it also makes code uglier and less readable. I think we can agree,
there's a balance.
This is from my team's real experience with our string_ref-like class.
Good to know, and, on the flip side, I can't speak from such experience, so
you got me there.
But as far as I'm concerned, string_ref isn't much more than
iterator_range< char [const] * >, and iterator_range< char [const] * >
already has some of these implicit constructors one might be interested.
So, it's hard for me to see how we're creating these huge trap for
ownership issues; if anything, one already exists. Do you likewise advocate
deprecation of iterator_range's implicit constructors?
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